Based on George Levick’s diary of the experience of the Northern Party on Scott’s second (Terra Nova) expedition of 1910-13, as they were stranded for a winter at Inexpressible Island away from Cape Adare. Levick was medical officer of the 6-man party but also photographer and zoologist. Based on Priestley’s Antarctic Adventure and diaries of G. M. Levick owned by Richard Kossow.
p. 11—Captain Titus Oates usually pored over his Napier’s History of the Peninsular War.
p. 16: On Terra Nova trip South “they pooled their books.”
p. 18: raises question of homosexuality and its clues in various sources, but in the end says it remains an open question.
p. 74: “books plucked from the library shelves”, refers to footnote 16, p. 224: Abbott’s reading matter included a clutch of novels unknown today: The Virginian by Owen Wister, The Fighting Chance and Maids of Paradise by R.W. Chambers, Forest Lovers by Morris Hewlett, and The Illustrious O’Hagan by Justin McCarthy.
p. 80: These auoras left those who observed them a unique and priceless legacy of movement and color, but they could not eradicate the boredom and discomfort that was winter life at Cape Adare.
p. 83: He [Campbell] was certainly a good man in a crisis and good company when things were going well, but long spells of boredom and discomfort were likely to tell on him more than on a man of slower pace and more even temper, such as Levick. [Lambert compares Campbell to Scott in his dark periods]
p. 92: says Levick was reading during a gale works of Scott, Shackleton, and Borchgrevink “picking up as many tips as possible.”
p. 123??: in Northern party igloo or snow-house. “Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it’s awful”—cf Beckett. Levick’s “preoccupations during the month were: incontinence, cooking with blubber, books, boots….”
p. 155: On Sundays, as in pleasanter times at Cape Adare, Campbell read from the New Testament, and hymns & psalms were sung, recollected in the absence of a hymnal with a fair degree of accuracy thanks to the spent by the seamen in their home choirs, and to Priestley’s Wesleyan chapel childhood. (see Kossow’s copy of the NT read there, described under Levick.)
p. 157: After the evening hooch…Levick read a chapter or two of a book aloud to the others, recumbent in their bags. Their library was meagre and strangely assorted, reflecting the tastes of six disparate readers. He started with Boccaccio’s Decameron, which he rated ‘a most boring production’,… Simon the Jester, a rather inferior novel, they enjoyed greatly. Their literary mainstay was, however, David Copperfield: a merciful total of sixty-four chapters. Levick started to read one of these a day on March 28, and finally closed the book two months later. Balfour’s Life of Robert Louis Stevenson then came to their rescue, lasting them another few weeks…. He was not the only performer: Priestley’s reading from his diary were much enjoyed from the beginning of June, but were rationed to Sundays to spin them out as long as possible. (Goes on to talk about Levick’s literary attempts—started a novel with some notes still extant at SPRI and in Kossow’s collection.)
p. 158: There is a dash of Robert Louis Stevenson there too, absorbed during Levick’s weeks of nightly readings. His admiration for the master storyteller grew: “I have found [his] character studies simply fascinating, and can hardly leave for the routine of work."
…At the end of the reading and ‘lights out’, the men composed themselves to sleep—and often to dream.
p. 177: Levick entry for Oct. 29: “and then we retired to our bags and ate more biscuits, and I read Browning, as Taylor had left a copy at the depot.”
p. 257-59: First of all we waited until the mes*men for the day had finished their work, and then when they had turned in and all diaries were written up Levick would read us a chapter from "David Copperfield." This one chapter a night became a regular institution with
us from now until we had finished all three of the books we had with us. "David Copperfield" lasted us for some sixty nights, and at the end of that time we were very sorry to part with him. The ‘Life of Stevenson," however, proved an excellent substitute, and that, again, lasted us for two or three weeks, and was followed by "Simon the Jester." This last book we found lasted us much less time, for we became one and all fascinated with Simon’s character, and one chapter a night was not enough. We demanded two or three, and Levick allowed us to keep him reading and in a few days the last of our books was finished. In addition to these three we had with us two copies of the Review of Reviews, and these were read from cover to cover, advertisements and all.
We had carried one or two other magazines on the summer journey, but these, unfortunately, I had used for wrapping up specimens, and I often regretted this fact during the winter. The "Decameron" and a
couple of Max Pemberton’s novels which the men had brought completed our list of literature, with the exception of a typed copy of my first year’s diary. This latter I used to read on Sundays, and we used to contrast our life on the same date at Cape Adare with our present existence in the snow-cave. On Sundays also Campbell read a chapter from a pocket edition of the New Testament we had with us, and afterwards we sang what hymns we could remember.
Taking all things into consideration, the Sunday concerts were a great success. The only man with a voice in the party was Abbott, and he was not blessed with a good memory. Dickason and Browning had once been in a choir, and still remembered bits of the Te Deum and some fragments of hymns, and I also knew a few of the latter. Between us we managed to patch up about a dozen hymns, which sounded something like they were meant to by their authors. Where we could not think of a sentence we made it up, and I was surprised when I returned to find that,
while we had frequently only been singing two or three verses when four or five had been written, in one case at least we had made up one more verse than actually existed. Although a man of no pretensions to voice at all, I was a tower of strength in these Sunday concerts, for when I was a boy I had been taken twice every Sunday to a Wesleyan chapel, and the only book I was allowed to look at during the sermons (which were unreasonably long for children to be expected to listen to) was the hymn-book. Consequently I amused myself by learning all my favourite
hymns by heart, and I have never forgotten some of them. My diligence in those far-off days was now amply repaid, for the thing which went farthest towards making our evenings pass pleasantly was the ability
to make a "cheerful noise." We had very little idea of tune, but hymn tunes are simple and very fine, and I believe we all enjoyed these concerts even more than those which marked the Saturday night.
Saturday night also was devoted to song. After dinner we drank to "Sweethearts and Wives" in our apology for cocoa, and then we sang the old favourites which will be recognized by sailors and travellers all the world over. Such songs as "Rolling Home," "Lowlands," "Thora," "The Buffalo Battery," "Mandalay," and many another will remind us of these
Saturday night concerts to our dying day, and when we hear them again our thoughts will swing back across time and space to the drift where lie the remains of our cave home. Indeed, so pleasant do those evenings
appear now to me, and so softening is the influence of time on the memory, that already as I look back on them from a comfortable chair in my rooms in Cambridge it is with more than a slight tinge of regret I realize that they are gone never to return.